|Government's economic policy lauded|
|Monday, June 17, 2002
|HUGHES... government placing emphasis on facilitating private sector-led development initiatives, encouraging social sector development and poverty reduction.|
REPRESENTATIVES of international financial institutions have commended the government for steps taken, particularly over the past two years, to stabilise the Jamaican economy, restore the health and viability of the financial sector, reduce interest rates, and realise growth, according to a Jamaica Information Service report.
The report said the financial institutions have indicated their continued commitment to working with the government and the private sector on a range of social and economic development initiatives over the next two to three years.
The group, which included representatives from the World Bank, the European Union, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the United Nations Development Programme, offered their commendations after the presentation of a report on the Jamaican economy by director-general of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr Wesley Hughes, at last week's meeting of the Caribbean Group for Co-operation in Economic Development. The meeting was held at the World Bank headquarters in Washington DC.
Hughes, in his presentation, said the government was committed to maintaining a stable macroeconomic policy aimed at reducing inflation, lowering interest rates to ensure sustained economic growth.
Noting that the country had recorded single-digit inflation rates over the last five years, he indicated that the inflationary rate was expected to decline to between five to six per cent for the fiscal year 2002/03, with GDP growth at about three per cent.
The PIOJ head said that Jamaica has been improving its GDP performance in sectors such as agriculture, forestry, fishing and manufacturing and continued recovery was expected in the productive sectors especially in the areas of mining and construction, transportation, storage, communications, electricity and finance.
Dr Hughes told the meeting that government was placing emphasis on facilitating private sector-led development initiatives, encouraging social sector development and poverty reduction, deepening the process of ongoing reform in the public sector, and developing more effective approaches to environmental management.
He also reported that consistent with efforts to attend to the social welfare priorities of the Jamaican people, increasing emphasis would be placed on "ensuring adequate developmental provisions for the children in the early childhood years and providing equitable education and training designed to equip young persons for employment opportunities commensurate with the demands of the dynamic, globalised labour market".
The four-day conference, held between Tuesday, June 11 and Friday, June 14 was attended by more than 200 participants representing both the private and public sectors throughout the Caribbean, as well as international financial institutions and non-governmental organisations.
It explored strategies aimed at fostering private capital flows to the region, given the decline of traditional aid resources from the United States and the European Union.
The Caribbean Group for Co-operation in Economic Development, which includes all the CARICOM states as well as Haiti and the Dominican Republic, was established in 1977 to provide a single forum in which policy-makers in the region would have dialogue with members of the international donor community, such as the World Bank, the European Union, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the United Nations Development Programme.